While talent is everywhere, the opportunity to develop the skills, mindsets, and networks needed for success is not. By the time they reach middle school, it has been shown that middle school students from middle-class families have spent 6,000 more hours learning than kids born into poverty. That’s where nonprofit organizations such as Citizen Schools come in, helping young students get the tools and networks that they need to later thrive as adults in a fast-moving economy.
Here at Citizen Schools, the work that we do everyday would not be possible without our amazing employees. All who go above and beyond their everyday call of duty to ensure that our young people, schools and communities get the best that they deserve. Each month, we are going to spotlight one amazing Citizen Schools employee. Here is our first one, Lauren Chamberlain
This week, US2020 hosted their tenth bi-annual City Network Convening in Downey, CA, at the Columbia Memorial Space Center. This convening marked the first time representatives from all 22 communities were together since the STEM Coalition Challenge winners and finalists were announced earlier this year.
There is now widespread consensus that young people need much more than proficiency in traditional academic subjects in order to be ready for college, the workplace, and civic life. A richer and deeper definition of readiness includes intra-and inter-personal skills and dispositions such as self-efficacy and growth mindset.
In our year one report on our teacher support model, Catalyst, we share lessons learned from our initial design year and the ways those lessons informed our year two approach. This approach includes a new volunteer experience design team, comprising a group of volunteers from Citizen Schools National Leadership Partner, Dell.
Last year, US2020 launched the STEM Coalition Challenge, with support from Schmidt Futures and the Arconic Foundation. The Challenge was a competition for communities across the country to develop cross-sector partnerships to bring quality hands-on maker-centered learning to underrepresented students at scale through STEM mentorship. More than 90 communities participated, signalling a significant need and demand for the tools, resources, programs and support that will help schools, libraries, museums and other youth-serving organizations engage students in maker centered learning with mentors.
The importance of social and emotional skills in the workplace has been well-documented, but a virtual focus group of business leaders hosted by the Commission and Citizen Schools on July 25 revealed the broader array of skills that today’s employers value such as intellectual curiosity, willingness to give and receive feedback, personal ownership of problems and challenges, and recognition of unconscious bias.
At our annual WOW!NOW celebration in Boston, Mohamad Ali spoke about the importance of hiring employees with diverse perspectives and skillsets, how Citizen Schools is helping to close the 'IT skills gap,' and called on our cities, states and country to come together to provide opportunities for all students to have an equal opportunity for high-quality education.
Each year, the President of the United States recognizes volunteers throughout the country with the President’s Volunteer Service Awards (PVSA). Somerville residents Alexandra Armstrong, Gabriel Begun and Xinyue Lu are among this year’s recipients. They shared their professional “know-how” with middle school students in low-income communities during after school hours. The mentorship and support they provide is helping close the opportunity gap which exists between students in underserved communities and their peers from more affluent communities.
Citizen Schools has been awarded a $2M grant from the Biogen Foundation as part of the foundation's recently announced STAR Initiative. As 1 of 6 recipients of the STAR (Science, Teacher Support, Access and Readiness) Initiative, Citizen Schools will expand its signature apprenticeship program to provide hands-on STEM courses, taught by experts, to thousands of middle school students in the Somerville district, and to support classroom teacher instruction during the school day.
Project Exploration was selected from 92 applications from 82 communities across 35 states, representing more than 1,800 nonprofits, companies, school districts, and local government partners. Project Exploration (PE) is honored to have been selected as a finalist in the US2020 Challenge. As a finalist, Project Exploration sent representatives, Natasha Smith-Walker and Kelsey Galante, to attend the US2020 Collaboratory in Pittsburgh in February 2018.
The Idaho STEM Action Center, an agency added to the Governor's Office in 2015 to give Idaho students more access to and guidance in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, announced today that it is one of eight winners of the US2020 STEM Coalition Challenge. The challenge, which is a nationwide competition that rewards programs bringing STEM "mentoring and maker-centered learning" to underserved students, splits $1 million in cash and support among chosen STEM-related agencies, companies and nonprofits. The Idaho STEM Action Center is slated to receive a $50,000 cash award.
Eight winners were selected from a pool of nearly 100 communities representing close to 2,000 partners across 35 states looking to bring more STEM mentorship and maker-centered learning opportunities to students across the country in creative and compelling ways.
Buffalo’s Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Partnership (ISEP) is one of eight groups from across the country named by US2020 as a winner of the 2018 STEM Coalition Challenge, a competition for communities nationwide to bring hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) mentoring and maker-centered learning to underrepresented students.
Each spring at Citizen Schools brings a flurry of energy and activity. Spring WOW! season: the culmination of another year of programming and celebration of the hard work of our students and campus teams; graduating yet another class of our hard working AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows; and the palpable buzz and youthful excitement you find in any school environment that grows with each passing day that brings us closer to summer.
Volunteers come from all walks of life. Usually, they choose a cause that they feel passionate about or that they can relate to. Most volunteers are interested in making the difference and leaving a legacy in the organization they serve. Whether that impact is sustainable or not, depends on the community and the organization itself. However, their heart, dedication, and joy to serve others is what matters the most. In observance of National Volunteer Month, we decided to celebrate the individuals that bring our mission to life: our volunteers. Their passion, courage, and determination to join us in closing the opportunity gap inspires us everyday.
The development of a more diverse, equitable and inclusive organization has long been a priority at Citizen Schools, given our mission and the communities we serve. We strongly believe that as an organization it is our moral imperative to breakdown the systems of oppression that have long prevented us from copiously serving our young people and supporting their visions of success.
The Michigan Science Center has been named on of the finalists in the US2020 STEM Coalition Challenge. Judges for the competition looked at how each organization incorporated science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to underrepresented students. They were also evaluated on their potential impact, approach to partnership building, creative engagement strategies, and sustainability planning.